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Parents on the art of summmer scheduling WALKING THE LINE between friend and parent TEEN SEXTING tips on how to handle it ALLERGY SEASON A supplement to the Daily Record
Ginger Longo, MD, FACOG
Teresa Beckett, ARNP, PA-C
Emilie Torretta, ARNP, Certiﬁed Nurse Midwife
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CONTENTS 4 Parents on the art of summer scheduling 8 Walking the line between friend and parent
10 5 ways social media can be good for your kids and teens 12 Use of Juul in school raises concerns 14 Kindergarten teacher’s request for mental health books goes viral 18 Instilling a sense of wonder 23 New federal standards for baby bouncers 24 Teen sexting – tips for parents on how to handle it
28 Tipping furniture injuries 30 Allergy season and families
Parents on the art of summer scheduling
s the parent of a 6- and a 9-year-old, Jen Swanson has mastered the art of summer scheduling. Right after Christmas, she starts gathering camp and activity information and is ready to pounce the moment camp registration opens at the start of the year. “The competitiveness of getting into top-choice summer camps is insane,” the New Brighton, Minn., woman said. “But I want to make sure they are being challenged and not just sitting around all day.” In today’s overscheduled, overachieving, high-tech society, keeping summer carefree (and screen-free) is a challenge. For many parents, the 12 or so weeks of summer are less about sleeping in and sunshine, and more about calendars and carpools. Despite logging onto her two laptops, iPad and iPhone minutes before registration started at 6 a.m., Swanson was able to get only one of her sons into the coveted Battle Bots camp through the University of Minnesota. Three minutes later, the camp was full, landing her other son 13th in line on a waiting list. As a result, neither of Swanson’s sons will get to attend their top choice camp, because “from a sanity perspective, I can’t handle two different dropoffs,” she said. To improve her chances next year, Swanson said her husband will join the early morning registration ritual, each signing up one child simultaneously. “This is what we are reduced to,” she said. “The level of stress I experience in January and February keeps me up at night.” Lucky for the Swansons and thousands of other families in search of ways to fill their kids’ summer schedules, the opportunities are endless. With so many options, parenting in the summer can sometimes feel like a competitive sport, rather than the laid back summers that parents remember. “I grew up in rural Minnesota, where I never had those opportunities to attend camp, so this is a very different mind-set for me,” said Darin Broton, an Eagan, Minn., father of two, ages 6 and 22 months. “I also know that my son enjoys these things immensely, and he has learned so much — whether it’s through athletics or Scouts, it’s about building strong relationships and social skills.” Then there are the weeks with grandparents, the family vacation and downtime to do nothing — all of that has to be scheduled, too.
By Aimee Blanchette Star Tribune – Minneapolis
MEETING DEMAND Camp as day care is another reason for the boom. “Parents need somewhere for their kids to go,” Barth said. According to data from the Pew Research Center, dual-income households with young children in the U.S. have become more commonplace over the past six decades, going from 25 percent in 1960 to 60 percent in 2012. “At the end of the day, everyone wants to have well-balanced kids, and getting them out in nature, involved in different experiences, is something that parents look for,” said Diana Mulvihill, senior director of marketing for YMCA Twin Cities youth programs. “Parents are looking for ways to get kids away from the screen; they are so addicted to it and we’re realizing the detriments of that.” OTHER ACTIVITIES Of course, a calendar full of camps isn’t for everyone. Between work, family vacations, logistics and financial restraints, adding summer camp may be too much. After spending some time with camp guides, a notebook and calculator, Broton decided that less was more: “We’re only doing one camp per month to make sure our son isn’t overscheduled and we’re not going broke.” Wondering how other families tackle the stress of summer scheduling? Read on for tips from parents and camp directors.
1. Go outside the comfort zone Involve your kids in the decisionmaking process, but also think outside the box of what they typically like to do. “Research shows that the more variety your child can get, the more resilient they are,” Mulvihill said. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, talk to other parents about the camps their children have attended. Arrange to have your child attend the same camp as a friend. Coordinating with friends or neighbors can help with transportation, too. 2. Start early In the world of summer scheduling, even the early birds don’t always get the worm. Popular camps with limited spots are coveted by kids and parents alike, and sometimes it’s the luck of the draw. To improve your chances, start gathering camp guides as soon as they come out — often as early as December and January. Block your calendar for the day registration opens. 3. Get creative with scheduling If you’re lucky enough to have a job with flexible scheduling, consider adjusting your schedule in the summer to accommodate pickup or drop-off times. “There is a lot of shifting and scheduling,” said Twin Cities parent Stephanie Duggan. “We just piecemeal it together and hope it works.” While many camps have hours inconvenient for dualworking families, more are starting to offer before and after care hours. Other options: carpooling, bringing
your kids back to work with you or enlisting the help of grandparents or a babysitter. 4. Look for discounts Many summer camps require partial or full payment at the time of registration. “There is definitely a sticker shock factor,” said Duggan, who estimated that she will spend $4,000 on activities, day care and camps for her two children. Ask about scholarships and financial aid. Many camps also offer reduced rates for registering early and sibling discounts, too. Under IRS guidelines, day camps are considered a workrelated expense and can be covered with funds set aside in a dependent care flexible spending account. 5. Resist the urge to overschedule “Sometimes I think we create our own drama around summer scheduling,” Swanson said. “I have to step back sometimes. ... My kids would have a perfectly fun summer not doing programs that are so competitive to get into.” 6. Schedule downtime Whether it’s a week with grandpa and grandma, a week of family vacation or a week of doing nothing at all, don’t forget to include time for what summer is all about: rest and relaxation. 7. Don’t assume it’s too late While some camps may be full, there are many with availability. Like anything else in life, Mulvihill said: “If you’re flexible, there’s a good chance you can still get what you want.”
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Walking the line between friend and parent By Danieller Braff Chicago Tribune
Susan Wholley bought her daughter her ﬁrst drink when she turned 21, and she was the person her daughters turned to when they had questions about sex and marijuana. The Connecticut hospice worker, tutor and single mother to 19- and 22-year-old daughters, said she loves her open relationship she has with them, where nothing is off-limits.
hey know they can say anything to me, and come to me about everything,” Wholley said. “Is there more of a friendship? There definitely is, with the understanding that they can’t cross the line.” That line — the one that’s separating a parent from being a friend — is one that many parents are straddling these days, and some are leaning more toward the friendship side. Can you be best friends and parents with your children simultaneously? And, should you?
Studies dating back to the 1960s have proved the merits of authoritative parenting, but in recent years, as attachment parenting (essentially, reacting to the needs of the child first) has grown and children-first initiatives have been broadcast to parents, the lines of how to parent have been smudged. Should you be authoritative? Or should you give them the freedom to be who they are, to make their own choices and to be on the same level as the adults? “Children want and need boundaries. They cannot ask questions about how far it is to go,” said Barbara Harvey, executive director of Parents, Teacher and Advocates in Atlanta, which helps parents become better at parenting. “They depend on parents to set the parameters and keep them safe.” When children don’t have boundaries, they become stressed. And this is the reason why so many children are stressed: They have no real security at home, Harvey said. When a child is a parent’s best friend, there is often too much pressure placed on the child to know
about — and to be overly involved in — adult situations. “Children are not mentally or emotionally ready for this role,” Harvey said. As a result, it often forces children to grow up too quickly, and keeps them from being actively and normally involved with their own peers. While a child may choose to identify a parent as a “best friend,” it’s different if a parent calls that child a best friend. It’s too much pressure on the child if the parent confides in him, as a best friend would. “This places the child in a confusing situation, where they feel they need to support and guide the adult, who is supposed to be supporting and guiding them,” said Nicole Beurkens, a licensed psychologist with the Horizons Developmental Resource Center in Michigan. “Parents need to be firmly in the role of guide — and be willing and able to set whatever rules and expectations are needed, including appropriate consequences, for the good of the child.” The line between being a friend and a parent is thin, however, which makes this separation murky at times. Both require good listening skills, spending time together and looking out for each other. “But at the end of the day, your best bud isn’t going to make you follow rules, and isn’t always giving you good advice,” said Casherie Bright, a Utah-based therapist focusing on kids and teens. “Parents need to be able to discipline their child, and be OK if their child doesn’t always like them, because parents have to make hard decisions, like making kids brush their teeth, even if they don’t want to, or go to bed at a good time, even though it’s more fun to stay up all night.” Wholley likes to remind her daughters that unlike their friends, she won’t allow them to shut her
out of their lives for two weeks. And they’re not allowed to yell at her. After all, she’s their mother, even if they may be leaving her nest. Many parents think that if they have a good, friendly relationship with their child, that the child will do what the parent wants, because they’re friends and because the child wants to please them. But typically, the opposite happens. Children get confused about their role, and if the parents try to establish any rules, the child resents it because they never had any rules — and now they feel like their parents are hypocrites, Bright says. This “hands-off” approach tends to lead to rebellion and other issues. Shanna Donhauser, a child and family therapist in Seattle, said that when parents lose their strength and power, children struggle with having so much power, and they tend to scream, become anxious and unsettled. “They already feel small and vulnerable, and they need your size and strength to help them feel protected,” Donhauser said. “You can still be friendly with your children, but you must still be in charge, and have clear and consistent boundaries.”
Age is a factor, however. Parents should be completely authoritative with children up to 36 months, when children are too young to make any decisions for themselves. “This is when kids need parents to make all the decisions, and place the strongest and most protective barriers,” Harvey said. When the child turns 3, there is a shift toward more democracy, but parents still make most of the decisions. However, Harvey said, children should get to make some decisions at this point based on a parent’s choices: peanut butter and jelly or ham sandwich for lunch? As children enter elementary school, parents can allow children to make age-appropriate decisions about what to wear to school, what instrument to play, etc. With middleschoolers, parents have to walk a fine line between authoritarian, democratic and permissive. “Parents need to pay close attention and determine almost on a minute-by-minute basis what kids need,” Harvey said. “The younger the teen, the more parenting is required; as they age and move into college, this is where the mentor/friend role is most appropriate.”
“When a child is a parent’s best friend, there is often too much pressure placed on the child to know about adult situations.” 9
5 ways social media can be good for kids and teens From sexting to cyberbullying to FOMO, social media sure has its share of negatives. But, if it’s all bad, how did 2,000 students protest their school system’s budget cuts? How are teens leading the charge against cyberbullying? How did they organize a national school walkout day to protest gun laws? Easy: savvy use of social media. For a few years now, many teens have been saying that social media — despite its flaws — is mostly positive. And new research is shedding light on the good things that can happen when kids connect, share, and learn online. As kids begin to use tools such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and even YouTube in earnest, they’re learning the responsibility that comes with the power to broadcast to the world. You can help nurture the positive aspects by accepting how important social media is for kids and helping them find ways for it to add real value to their lives. For inspiration, here are some of the benefits of your kid being social media-savvy: It lets them do good. Twitter, Facebook, and other large social networks expose kids to important issues and people from all over the world. Kids realize they have a voice they didn’t have before and are doing everything from crowdfunding social justice projects to anonymously Tweeting positive thoughts. It strengthens friendships. Studies, including Common Sense Media’s Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives and the Pew Research Center’s Teens, Technology and Friendships show that 10
By Caroline Knorr Common Sense Media Tribune News Service
social media helps teens make friends and keep them. It can offer a sense of belonging. While heavy social media use can isolate kids, a study conducted by Griffith University and the University of Queensland in Australia found that although American teens have fewer friends than their historical counterparts, they are less lonely than teens in past decades. They report feeling less isolated and have actually become more socially adept as well, partly due to an increase in technology use. It provides genuine support. Online acceptance — whether a kid is interested in an unusual subject that isn’t considered “cool” or is grappling with sexual identity — can validate a marginalized kid. Suicidal teens can even get immediate access to quality support online. One example occurred on a “Minecraft” forum on Reddit when an entire online community used voiceconferencing software to talk a teen out of his decision to commit suicide. It helps them express themselves. The popularity of fan fiction (original stories based on existing material that people write and upload online) proves how strong the desire for self-expression is. Both producers and performers can satisfy this need through social media. Digital technology allows kids to share their work with a wider audience and even collaborate with far-flung partners (an essential 21st-century skill). If they’re really serious, social media can provide essential feedback for kids to hone their craft.
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Use of Juul in school raises concerns By Ana B. Ibarra Kaiser Health News
he students wait eagerly for their teachers to turn their backs. That’s their cue to reach quietly for a small, sleek device they can easily conceal in their palms. It resembles a flash drive, but instead of computer files, this device stores nicotine. They take a hit, sucking on the device as they would a cigarette. Then, “they blow into their backpacks ... or into their sweater when the teacher isn’t looking,” said Elijah Luna, 16, a sophomore at Vista del Lago High School in Folsom, Calif., about 30 miles east of Sacramento. The vapor cloud is so small and dissipates so quickly that teachers are usually none the wiser, said Luna, who added he’s never tried it himself. The device is a Juul, a popular electronic cigarette that’s a sensation among teens, especially in wealthier neighborhoods — and a nightmare for school administrators and public health advocates. “I think this is going to be the health problem of the decade,” said Milagros Vascones-Gatski, a substance abuse counselor at Yorktown High School in Arlington, Va. In nearly 17 years working with teens, she said, she’s never seen a tobacco product become so popular so quickly. Three to four students are caught smoking e-cigs on campus each week, usually Juuls, and some are suspended, she said. HIGH IN NICOTINE Vascones-Gatski, along with other concerned educators and health care experts, consider “Juuling” more than youthful rebellion. Because it is high in nicotine, they fear the devices are extremely addictive for this vulnerable population. To combat the spread of the devices, some schools have banned flash drives as well, to avoid any confusion between the items. Yorktown High even removed the main entrance doors from student bathrooms at the beginning of the school year to dissuade students from vaping inside. Despite these efforts, teens across America continue smoking the stuff in class, in hallways, in restrooms and at school sporting events. 12
Because it’s referred to as Juuling, not smoking or vaping, some students may think what they’re doing is harmless, said Pamela Ling, a professor at the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine. “They may not even know it contains nicotine.” But it does — and a significant amount. One Juul “pod,” the nicotine cartridge inserted into the smoking device and heated, delivers about 200 puffs, about as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, according to the product website. Assuming a teen smokes one pod a week, “in five weeks, that’s like 100 cigarettes,” Ling said. “By that point, you’re considered an established smoker.”
The vapor cloud is so small and dissipates so quickly that teachers are usually none the wiser E-cigarettes, also known as vapes, are battery-operated devices that heat up liquid nicotine to generate an aerosol that users inhale. Smoking e-cigs is more discreet and easier to get away with than traditional cigarettes. In 2016, California increased the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21. Experts predicted the change would make it harder for teens to get tobacco products from their slightly older friends, and it seems to be working, according to a recent report. But some health care advocates now worry that devices like the Juul could reverse that progress. Although its manufacturer, Juul Labs, said the device is intended exclusively for adult use, it is
appealing to youth because it can be easily charged on a laptop, its decal covers come in colorful designs, and the pods are available in flavors such as mango, mint and creme brûlee. The odor Juuls produce is subtle and could easily be mistaken for a lotion or body spray. “It’s stinky and fruity,” said Luna’s friend Cody Maratas, of the smell he encounters inside school restrooms when others are Juuling. STOPPING KIDS Juul Labs said it wants to help schools get its products off their campuses. Spokeswoman Christine Castro said the company has created a curriculum to educate youth about Juul and nicotine addiction, with input from academics. It’s available for any school that is interested, she said. “This product is solely for adult smokers,” said Castro. “We absolutely condemn kids using our products.” Castro said the company limits online purchases to individuals 21 or older. To browse the site, you need only click on a box pledging you’re of age. But to buy, you must create a profile. Customer information is verified through multiple databases and, if that fails, customers must upload a photo identification, she said. However, Castro conceded that it is harder to control sales on thirdparty sites like eBay or Craigslist. She urged consumers to report suspicious sales to the company’s email@example.com email address. Juul Labs may follow up with secret shopper visits to stores suspected of selling the product to underage customers, she said. If users get through the ageverification process online, they can buy a Juul starter kit, which includes the vaping pen and four pods, for
$50. That’s expensive for most high school students — which is why Juuling might be more prevalent in affluent communities. “In order to vape, you need money,” said Vascones-Gatski, noting that most students at her high school either work or receive big allowances. Vince Willmore, vice president of communications at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, applauds efforts taken by schools, but he thinks the burden shouldn’t fall solely on educators and parents. The Food and Drug Administration “regulates tobacco products ... and we think it’s important that the FDA take action to protect kids from Juul and other e-cigarettes,” he said. Last year, the agency delayed regulations that could have yanked many e-cigarette products from the market, possibly including the Juul, while it studies whether these devices might actually help longtime smokers wean off traditional cigarettes. “That basically locked in the products that are in the market for another four years,” Willmore said. Meanwhile, schools continue the battle. At Needham High School in Massachusetts, Principal Aaron Sicotte said e-cigarettes started appearing on his campus last school year, and soon Juul became the most popular brand. The school has alerted staff “so that when these fall out of students’ bags, teachers don’t hand them back,” he said. While the hype surrounding Juul might die down, Sicotte doesn’t expect vaping to go away. “I think this is something that will remain in the fabric of adolescence,” he said. “The access is too easy, the draw is too great, and the push through advertising is too significant.” 13
EDUCATION BY THE BOOK
Kindergarten teacher’s request for mental health books goes viral By Jerry Davich Chicago Tribune
ina DuBrock repeatedly yet gently tells this to her kindergartner students at Protsman Elementary School in Dyer. “This is brand new to you, but you’ll learn it quickly if you think about it,” DuBrock told them again one Wednesday morning when I visited her classroom. Her class of 18 kids, some with special needs,
were each given a number from 1 to 10. Their task was to find a partner whose number added up to 10 along with their number. Some kids figured it out immediately. Others not so quickly. DuBrock, who has been teaching for 15 years, was patient as she watched. “This classroom is my calling. I love what I do,” she told me in between lessons. Each day, she teaches the building blocks of learning, and how to
interact peacefully with others, to our youngest generation of residents. It’s not easy work. It’s not as simple as it seems. And it has caused her to lose sleep on many occasions, especially lately. “My newsfeed is full of school shootings, school safety plans, gun control debates, and arming teachers,” she recently wrote on her Facebook page. “What bothers me most is parents blaming schools/teachers and teachers blaming parents.”
Blaming is not allowed in her classroom. It’s poisonous for young, impressionable minds. She teaches tots how to give a “double thumbs-up,” not how to point a finger. She would like to see adults follow their lead. “We have enough negative these days,” she said. While too many of us play the blame game, DuBrock shapes the minds of children. And while our country’s lawmakers debate whether to arm
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Mental Health cont. teachers with weapons, DuBrock is arming students with what she believes they desperately need. “I can make school a place they want to be, and teach them that learning can be fun. I worry about them day and night,” she wrote on Facebook. Her recent post went viral, grabbing the attention of the social media world with behindthe-scenes glimpses of her job. She wrote, “Over the years I’ve had children that have been abused, neglected, a parent or both parents in jail, more
norm,” she wrote. She worries about their mental health as much as their physical well-being. Earlier this school year DuBrock wrote a grant proposal for an after-school yoga and mindfulness program. More than 100 students signed up. “I tell them that school is their safe place and I have always believed it,” DuBrock said. In her post, she put out a request for materials for her classroom, citing school budget constraints and the lack of state funding. Along with the school’s six-member
“Our team kept asking ourselves what more could we do to bring social and emotional learning into our classroom.” parents that have been terminally ill than I can count, and children that have lost a parent to illness, and a few to suicide.” DuBrock knows her students inside and out. She greets them at the door every morning. She tells them they’re loved. She has given thousands of hugs, believing that each hug may be the only hug a child receives that day. “Other students come in with parents that are inflicted with addictions, depression and other mental illnesses. Some (kids) come in with high anxiety to a point where they already see a weekly specialist. All these situations used to be rare or even unheard of, but now it is part of a sad 16
kindergarten team of educators, they launched a movement to prioritize mental health education in schools, beginning in DuBrock’s classroom. “It needs to be a part of our school day,” DuBrock said. “As our country’s climate seems to be hitting a low, a needed step to a solution became more eminent.” DuBrock and her team created a “wish list” of mental wellness books to be purchased on Amazon. com and shipped to their school. The titles include, “The Alphabet War: A Story about Dyslexia,” “My Friend Has ADHD (Friends with Disabilities),” and “What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming OCD.”
“I want to provide my families with lessons they can hopefully use for a lifetime,” she wrote. “Our team kept asking ourselves what more could we do to bring social and emotional learning into our classroom.” This wasn’t the first time she used social media to acquire materials for her kids. She has previously accepted donated stools, tricycles, tumbling mats, a mini trampoline and art easel. Her expectations were low, hoping for possibly a handful of new or used books. Within two hours after she posted her request, 54 books were purchased. “Our K team is in awe of everyone’s generosity,” she told me. “The huge outpouring of support has been incredible.” After the first wave of new books were delivered, she told me, “It was Christmas in my room today. Humbled by generosity is putting it mildly.” Just days later, the
running total shot up to 175 books. “I am beyond grateful for this phenomenal support,” said DuBrock, whose students will be soon using the new materials. The kindergartners are like little sponges, absorbing every teachable moment. “I know the answer!” one boy yelled, jumping from his spot on the floor. “Who else knows the answer, boys and girls?” DuBrock asked her class. Hands shot into the air. DuBrock smiled at their enthusiasm. She knows she doesn’t have all the answers to the complex questions being debated these days in our country. But she has one answer to help her kids. And possibly your kids. “I hope the movement to support social and emotional education continues to spread,” she said. “I want them to succeed not just for a test score, but as a person.” Think about it.
Preparation Place baking sheet on bottom rack of oven. Fill halfway with water. Heat oven to 325° F. Line 9-by-13-inch pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Using food processor, pulse cookies until crumbly. Stir together crumbs and butter. Press evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Beat cream cheese until creamy. Add sugar and sour cream, and beat again until smooth. Add key lime juice, zest and flour, and beat until mixed thoroughly. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat gently after each. Add green food coloring to cheesecake mixture, if desired. Spread cheesecake batter evenly over crust in pan. Add 1 cup of blueberry pie filling over top of cheesecake. Use butter knife to gently swirl pie filling into cheesecake. Do not let knife go through to crust. Place pan on oven rack above tray of water. Bake 45-48 minutes. Remove immediately and place on wire rack for 1 hour then place in refrigerator until completely chilled. Cut into 24 squares and serve with whipped topping, remaining pie filling and key lime wedges. Prep time: 25 minutes Cook time: 45 minutes | Servings: 24
Blueberry Key Lime Cheesecake Bars Nonstick cooking spray 30 vanilla cream-filled cookies 1/4 cup butter, melted 3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened 3/4 cup sugar 3/4 cup sour cream 1/3 cup key lime juice 1 tablespoon key lime zest 1/4 cup flour 3 eggs Green gel food coloring (optional) 1 can (21 ounces) blueberry pie filling, divided 1 container (8 oz.) whipped topping, thawed Key lime slices (optional)
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Ask Mr. Dad
Instilling a sense of By Armin Brott Tribune News Service
Dear Mr. Dad: I remember being a child and constantly being amazed. But it seems like life is moving much more quickly these days and my own kids never get the luxury of just staring at the stars. Is there some way that today’s overscheduled families can slow down and rekindle that sense of wonder?
ANSWER: Childhood is filled with all sorts of developmental windows — it’s when we learn to speak and read, learn values, discover talents and passions, and much more. But those windows don’t stay open forever. Childhood is also the time when our attitudes and beliefs about the world around us are formed. How you spent your first few years goes a long way toward determining whether you’re a nose-to-the-grindstone person or a head-in-the-clouds one. Developing that sense of wonder you remember so fondly requires three things: time, opportunity, and practice. Here are a few ways to jump-start the process. Scheduled is good. Overscheduled is not. If you want your kids to experience wonder during their childhood, they must have unstructured time. Ironically, sometimes the only way to ensure they get
enough of it is to schedule it. Power down. Time in front of a TV, phone, or other screen is time spent seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. Help your kids find hobbies and interests that will engage their own creativity and reflection. Choose wonder-inducing family activities. Not every outing has to be an opportunity to ponder the meaning of life, but work in the occasional trip to the zoo, the aquarium, the science museum, the planetarium, or even a simple walk in the woods. Places like these encourage kids to see the world in different ways. Fewer toys equal more imagination. Gadgets and toys (including playground equipment) are great — up to a point. But they’re also very limiting. A toy car is just a toy car. But with a bit of imagination,
the box that car came in could be an airplane, a whale, a rocket ship, or anything else. Point out the wonder in the everyday. You don’t have to stand on the edge of the Grand Canyon or stare at a nebula through a telescope to experience wonder. Everyday things get more wonderfully strange the more you look and learn. Watch a hummingbird at a feeder. Stay up late for a meteor shower. Raise a Venus flytrap. Think about theses. Here are a few concepts that always have me marveling. If you take the history of the universe from the Big Bang to today and shrink it down to a single year, humans would appear on December 31st at 10:30 pm. Every atom in your body has been around since the beginning of time and has passed through several stars,
not to mention countless people, plants and animals, before becoming part of you. Our planet is zipping along at around 900 miles an hour right beneath our feet. Through the wonder of DNA, you are literally half your mom and half your dad, and a complete blueprint to build you exists in each and every cell of your body. The faster you go, the slower time moves. All life on Earth is related. You’re a cousin (a pretty distant one) of the sequoia and the amoeba, of mosses, blue whales, and butterflies. Once kids get a taste of the wonder that’s all around them, you won’t have to prompt them a bit — they’ll lead the way. But it’s up to you to get the ball rolling by giving them the three things they need — time, opportunity, and practice.
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• Animals with some of the longest lives are the Marion’s tortoise (152 years), the fin whale (116 years) and the deep-sea clam (100 years).
• Chimpanzees use tools more than any other animal except man.
• There are about 100 billion birds in the world, and about 6 billion of them make their homes in the United States.
• The black-necked cobra, which lives mostly in Africa, spits its venom into the eyes of its victim, to cause it blindness.
• People used to think the Manatee was a mermaid. • Sir Edmund was the first to climb Mt. Everest and return back. • Out of every 1,000 Mosquitos, one female carries a disease that could be fatal to humans.
Did You Know
? FUN FACTS 22
• Baby robins eat 14 feet of earthworms every day! • A butterfly has its taste receptors in its feet! • Half your body’s red blood cells are replaced every seven days. • The width of your armspan stretched out is the length of your whole body.
• The farthest you can see with the naked eye is 2.4 million light years away! (140,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles.) That’s the distance to the giant Andromeda Galaxy. You can see it easily as a dim, large gray “cloud” almost directly overhead in a clear night sky.
• Your mouth uses 75 muscles when you speak! • When you wake up in the morning you are at taller than when
you go to sleep, because you have let your spine straighten back out after all the bending, sitting, and moving you have done!
• Antarctica is the coldest continent on earth, where a
temperature of 126.9 degrees F below zero was once recorded. Chicago is home to three of the five tallest buildings in the world; the Sears Tower, Standard Oil Building, and John Hancock Center.
• The blue whale is the largest animal that ever lived (it could reach 100 feet long and weight up to 150 tons!)
• The smallest cat is the Singapuras and weighs only 4 pounds. • Did you know that there is a world record for seeing how many times you can attempt a world record?!
• A human’s small intestine is 6 meters long. • Dragonflies can fly up to 50 miles per hour. • Fish have gel-slime on their bodies that protects them from parasites.
• The largest bird egg ever laid was laid millions of years ago by the Madagascar, or the elephant bird.
N E O C S B U R After 54 injuries and 12 deaths in 10 years, new federal standards for baby bouncers By David J. Neal Miami Herald
ore prominently placed and standardized warnings will mark baby bouncers after new federal standards for the items went into effect recently. The baby registry staple many a new parent uses for holding or — especially if it vibrates — relaxing a baby was involved in 347 incidents reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission between Jan. 1, 2006, and July 6, 2016. Of those 347, there were injuries in 54 incidents and deaths in 12. “The major cause of reported fatalities was suffocation when unrestrained babies turned over in a bouncer or bouncers tipped over onto soft surfaces (e.g., mattresses and comforters) when placed on adult beds and in cribs,” the CPSC says. “Additional incidents primarily involved infants falling while in bouncers, or
falling from a bouncer placed in hazardous locations, such as kitchen counter tops, tables and other elevated surfaces.” As such, the warning labels all will include: • “Use bouncer ONLY on the floor.” • “ALWAYS use restraints and adjust to fit snugly, even if baby falls asleep.” • “STOP using bouncer when baby starts trying to sit up or has reached (manufacturer’s recommended maximum weight, not to exceed 20 lbs.), whichever comes first.” Also, decreasing the possibility that users will miss the fall hazard warnings, the warnings will be placed on the front of the bouncer seat near the baby’s head and shoulders. In addition to the above warnings on the label, the CPSC reminds caregivers to remain nearby when using bouncer seats. 23
Study says 1 in 7 teens sext — tips for parents on how to handle it By Christen A. Johnson Chicago Tribune A JAMA Pediatrics study released recently revealed a rise in the number of young people under age 18 who engage in sexting, with approximately 1 in 7 teens sending sexts, and 1 in 4 receiving them. The study, titled “Prevalence of Multiple Forms of Sexting Behavior Among Youth,” also examined the frequency of sending a sext without consent and having one’s sext forwarded without permission. Sheri Madigan, one of the co-authors of the study, said the increase in teen sexting since the first sexting study, done in 2009 by the Pew Research Center, is because of smartphone ownership. The access to smartphones among teens has increased, thus creating higher sexting rates. Madigan said children first get a phone, on average, at age 10. Sexting, “the sharing of sexually explicit images and videos of oneself through the internet or electronic devices, such as smartphones,” Madigan said, excludes sending someone a sexual image obtained from a pornography website. The study included more than 110,000 participants between the ages of 12 to 17, and the research spanned from 1990 to 2016, which includes the early internet era of sexting. It is composed of 39 varying studies that were reviewed and quantitatively summarized, called a meta-analysis, says Madigan. Madigan said a meta-analysis was preferred over a whole new teen sexting study because it’s more precise. “We’ve seen studies say that 3 percent of teens are sexting, to studies suggesting that 65 percent are sexting. When this happens, parents don’t understand the extent of sexting in
teens. We wanted to be able to understand what is causing this variation and come up with metrics that people can use to have a clear understanding.” Eighteen of the 39 studies examined sexting using mobile devices and computers. “Sexting is more common in older
“We’ve seen studies say that 3 percent of teens are sexting, to studies suggesting that 65 percent are sexting.
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your child is sexting, understand it’s a fairly normative behavior; it doesn’t mean your kid is deviant or in a life of crime,” said Temple. “It means they’re interested in their sexuality and sex.” • Gain context. “Find out more about your child’s relationship with the person they’re sexting,” said Madigan. “Is it used to flirt or maintain the relationship? Teens’ brains aren’t fully developed, so they don’t always understand cause and effect. Talk through risk and consequences of sexting.” • Make the most out of the moment. Temple suggests using your knowledge of your child’s sexting as a vehicle to “the talk.” He says, “We do know through other studies that sexting is related to actual sexual behavior. So, it really does provide a good opportunity to talk about real life sexual activity and what healthy relationships look like.”
teens, and more often happening on mobile devices,” says Madigan, adding that “there are no gender differences; boys and girls are sexting at similar rates.” The research also looked at if boys or girls are forwarding sexts more and the ramifications of
nonconsensual sexting. One in eight young people reported that they have forwarded a sext, according to data from the study. Madigan, along with co-author Jeff Temple, a professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch, offered tips to parents on how to discuss sexting with their child. • Have conversations early and often. “Parents should be proactive,” said Madigan. “Have conversations about digital citizenship, online behavior, sexuality and peer pressure before they get their phone.” • Equip yourself. “It’s a double threat for parents because they have to talk about sex and the digital world, and those can be very intimidating topics,” said Madigan, who suggests CommonSenseMedia. org as a resource for parents to feel empowered with the knowledge and tools to initiate conversations. • Don’t freak out. “If you find out
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Local Parks Cle Elum City Park West Second Street & Reed Ave. Features: Picnic shelter, barbecues, restrooms, playground equipment, horseshoe pits
McElroy Park 1703 Brick Rd. Features: Walking trails, pond, natural areas, picnic tables, natural play structure
CWU Community Fields 18th Ave. & Alder St. Features: Softball fields, soccer/multipurpose fields, restrooms
Memorial Neighborhood Park 700 N. Poplar St. Located next to the pool Features: Picnic shelter, children’s play structure, basketball, open turf area
Irene Rinehart Riverfront Park Umptanum Road and I-90 Features: Boat landing, lake swimming (no lifeguard), sand volleyball, picnic and barbecue facilities, hiking/biking trails, grass areas, dog park, restrooms Iron Horse Park Sixth Street and Milwaukee Street, South Cle Elum (access points throughout county) Features: Access to hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, bird watching, fly fishing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing Kiwanis Neighborhood Park “A” Street & 14th Ave. Features: Picnic shelter, children’s play structure, basketball hoop/court, junior baseball field, restrooms Lake Easton State Park I-90 Exit 70, Easton Features: Open year-round for camping, hiking trails, cross country, snowmobiling Lions/Mt. View Community Park 1200 E. Seattle St. Features: Soccer fields, baseball field, roller hockey rink, picnic shelter, barbecues, toddler and youth play structures, swings, restrooms 26
North Alder Park 2400 N. Alder Street Features: Picnic shelters, playground equipment, trails, turf area, restrooms Paul Rogers Wildlife Parks Judge Ronald Road Features: Trails with natural setting Reed Neighborhood Park 1200 E. Fifth Ave. Located at the top of Craig’s Hill Features: Views of Ellensburg and Kittitas Valley, turf areas, picnic tables Roslyn City Park Third Street & Idaho Ave. Features: Picnic tables, gazebo shelter, restrooms, softball field and tennis court, swings Rotary Park 1200 W. Fifth Ave. Features: Multi-use fields, full-sized softball/baseball fields, youth baseball fields, walking trail, play structure, dog park, bathroom and parking lot Skate Park Second and Pearl Street Features: Ramps and jumps for skate boarders
South Cle Elum Firemen Park Madison Avenue and Main Street Features: Picnic tables, shelter, barbecues, restrooms Wanapum State Park I-90 Exit 136, Vantage Featuring: Picnic area, swimming, boating, fishing, camping, trails. West Ellensburg Neighborhood Park 900 W. Third Ave. Features: Picnic shelter, children’s play structure, tennis court, restrooms, youth baseball fields, full-sized softball fields, full-sized baseball fields, walking/bike trail Wippel Neighborhood Park 400 W. Elliott St. Features: Picnic and barbecue facilities, basketball, open turf area
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Tipping furniture injures more kids than ever, says Consumer Reports By Cingy Dampier Chicago Tribune
hen outfitting a young child’s room, it’s easy to get caught up in the design details you can see: a cool color, a decorative object, favorite toys, and books. But choosing the right furniture means navigating a very real — yet hard to spot — danger that can threaten kids’ safety. According to a Consumer Reports study released recently, injuries from furniture tip-overs have continued to rise in the U.S. The latest data show that, in 2016, 2,800 children in the U.S. were injured by tipping furniture, an increase of 33 percent over 2015. Though the reasons for the increase are not clear, researchers at Consumer Reports believe it may simply reflect the increasing availability of products that are not built with safety in mind. Though an image of overloaded, toppling bookcases may still come to mind when we think of teetering furniture, when it comes to tip-over injuries to children, the most likely culprit is the dresser. Dressers, it turns out, pose a danger to kids younger than 6 for a
few reasons. They’re in the bedroom, where children are most likely to be left alone to nap — so adults are less likely to stop them from climbing. They’re tempting to climb on — pulled-out drawers can look a lot like stairs. And we often place enticing objects on top of them, including heavy televisions. “Over 80 percent of all the furniture tip-over injuries and deaths are children under the age of 6,” says James Dickerson, chief scientific officer at Consumer Reports. “They are the most vulnerable people.”
Yet, safety standards for dresser manufacturers are completely voluntary, Dickerson points out, meaning that manufacturers don’t have to comply with them, and stores don’t use labeling to inform shoppers about products that do comply. In addition, Dickerson’s team found that the current industry standards, which call for a dresser to remain upright when a weight of 50 pounds is placed on an open drawer, aren’t stringent enough. “We want the weight associated with the standard to be increased to
60 pounds,” he says, “which covers the average weight of children under 6 in the United States.” After testing 24 dressers of different sizes and price points, Consumer Reports found that there were dressers that passed the weight test in all categories, meaning it’s not price or materials that makes the furniture safe, but good design. “You can make a dresser that is light and safe, you can make a dresser that is heavy and safe, you can make a dresser of any shape or size that is safe,” Dickerson says, “because people are already doing it.” Even the new model of Ikea’s Malm dresser, which was recalled in June 2016 after being linked to the deaths of three toddlers, passed two of the three Consumer Reports tests — though not the test with a 60-pound weight. Dickerson would like to see those voluntary standards become
mandatory standards, he says, a measure that has been supported by the furniture industry, which would welcome the level playing field created when all manufacturers are forced to produce dressers to the same standard. The change has also been called for by other consumer advocates, including Lisa Siefert of Barrington Hills, who lost her son Shane to a dresser tip-over in 2011. “The normal consumer has no clue,” Siefert told Consumer Reports. She’s right. Dickerson confirms that his team’s research revealed no clear way that a shopper can tell whether a dresser will tip — and he doesn’t recommend you push down on open drawers to test it out in the store. “We’re not advocating that people go out and try to replicate their own experiments,” he says. “Just by looking at it or fiddling around with a dresser doesn’t guarantee that it’s going to be stable.”
Instead, Consumer Reports has two pieces of advice for parents: Avoid putting anything enticing or large on top of a dresser — this especially applies to televisions, which are often cited as additional toppling hazards. And use wall anchors to attach the furniture to the wall. “Anchor, anchor, anchor,” Dickerson says. Wall anchor kits are often included with a new furniture purchase — you may have seen Ikea’s included anchors and storewide campaigns about anchoring — and are easy to find online. “We should not put all the burden on the consumer” to make dressers safe, he says, but until manufacturers improve their safety standards, the anchors are a must. “This is a completely preventable issue,” he says, “and we all want to increase safety for children.”
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Allergy season and families By Ben Keggi For the Daily Record
The nights may still be cold, but as I’m sure some of you are all too well aware, allergy season is just around the corner. I’d like to take the opportunity to review the symptoms of seasonal nasal allergies (allergic rhinitis) and go over some treatment options with a special nod to the importance of treatment in children. Seasonal allergy symptoms can include itchy, watery eyes, stuffy/ runny nose, cough, and sneezing. In children, it is common to notice a dry cough at night, purple bags under the eyes, and/or a horizontal crease across the nose (which results from constantly wiping upwards on the nose). Treatment in children is important as it has been shown that untreated allergies can lead to poor sleep, missed school, and reduced academic performance. A kiddo can easily get several colds stacked one on top of the other, but know that regardless, there should be regular periods throughout the year when they can breathe quietly through both nostrils without excessive mucus. If you suspect that your child has allergies, please don’t wait until they are miserable to see your doctor or start treatment. This is a major disservice to your child as the above mentioned adverse effects can and do happen with even seemingly mild symptoms. Fortunately we have a number of good medications these days that are safe for both children and adults with minimal side effects. Before 30
I get started, a reminder to follow the directions for proper use of any medications. Do not exceed the dose or duration listed on the package or provided by your doctor/pharmacy and always check with your doctor if you have questions. Most allergy sufferers are familiar with oral antihistamines. The newer medications cetirizine, loratadine, and fexofenadine all replace older medications like Benadryl to treat allergy symptoms without causing sedation. They are all safe to use in children as young as 6 months, but require the supervision of a doctor if they are younger than 2 years of age. While these medications offer the convenience of a once a day pill or liquid and can provide adequate control for those with mild symptoms, the gold standard most effective treatment is now the nasal steroids. Nasal steroids work by effectively blocking several of the pathways by which allergies cause symptoms and have very few side effects when used correctly. Proper technique entails aiming the spray so that it is propelled deep into the nasal cavity rather than getting caught in the front of the nose near the nostrils. There is typically an illustration on the medication insert and plenty of videos available online that can walk you through how to best achieve this. It’s important to know that the nasal steroids exert their powerful anti-allergy effects slowly over the course on 1-2 weeks, and only maintain effectiveness if used consistently. They can be used in kiddos as young as 4, but you should talk to your doctor before using one
for longer than 2 months out of the year in young children. For severe symptoms, there are several sprays and oral medications available by prescription that can be used in addition to the standard treatment. For those with significant symptoms and the ability to commit substantial time to the issue, desensitization shots are also an option. Talk to your doctor about which regimen is right for you. Don’t forget that allergen recognition and avoidance, humidification, air filtration, and nasal saline sprays or irrigation play an important role in managing allergies of any severity. As a special side note, nasal decongestant sprays such as Afrin are not appropriate for use beyond three days duration. Using them for longer than this WILL cause severe ongoing congestion relieved only by frequent use of the sprays. If you’re using one of these regularly, you should talk to your doctor right away about how to properly taper off. That’s a brief rundown for you on the what and the how of allergic rhinitis. Don’t hesitate to seek out more information. I recommend visiting the website of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology at www.aaaai.org. Remember when starting any new medication to follow the directions for proper use. Do not exceed the dose or duration listed on the package or provided by your doctor/ pharmacy and talk to a physician if you have any concerns. Dr. Ben Keggi is a resident physician at Community Health of Central Washington in Ellensburg.
Baby Chick Cupcakes Prep time: 30 minutes | Servings: 24
1 package (12 ounces) white confectionary coating wafers 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1 box (16 ounces) confectioners’ sugar 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme 1 teaspoon sunflower food color 2 tablespoons milk, plus additional (optional) 48 unfrosted mini yellow cupcakes, baked in white paper liners Sprinkles (optional) Additional food colors (optional)
To make broken egg shell pieces: melt coating wafers as directed on package. Spread on large foil-lined baking sheet to 1/4-inch thickness. Refrigerate about 10 minutes, or until firm. Break into small, irregular pieces. Set aside. In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, beating until well blended after each addition, frequently scraping sides and bottom of bowl. Beat in marshmallow creme until well blended. In small bowl, stir food color into milk until dissolved. Add colored milk to frosting; beat until light and fluffy. Stir in additional milk, as needed, to reach desired consistency. To decorate cupcakes: spoon frosting into large pastry bag fitted with large round tip. Pipe two dollops of frosting on top of each other to form baby chick. If desired, insert sprinkles into face for eyes and beak. Or tint any remaining frosting with food colors to pipe out eyes and beak. Place coating wafer pieces around bottom of baby chick to resemble broken egg shell.
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